THE BIG FOUR
Nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper and clove were the heart of the spice trade. Over centuries their importance was measured in fortunes made and lives sacrificed in bloody trade wars. They inspired advances in technology and led to circumnavigation of the globe and ‘discovery’ of a continent.
The drama encompassed Arab traders, Roman citizens, Venetian merchants, the Dutch East India Company, Columbus, Magellan, Pierre Pouvre (Peter Piper); the adventures spanned the globe from Banda Island in Indonesia to Manhattan Island in North America.
In days past these spices were prescribed to balance our humours; today their legendary powers lie captive within bottles on supermarket shelves.
Clockwise from top left:
Nutmeg x 13, Myristica fragrans
Cinnamon and Cassia x 10, Cinnamomum zeylanicus, C. cassia Clove x 39, Eugenia caryophyllus
Pepper x 42, Piper nigrum
Watercolor on paper 12” x 12”